HONG KONG (Bloomberg): Hong Kongers rushed to download a song associated with the 2019 protests after the government sought to get the courts to outlaw the unofficial anthem.
Variations of Glory to Hong Kong accounted for all of the top 10 slots on Apple Inc.’s iTunes charts in the city on Wednesday. Each song cost between HK$6 and HK$8 (US$1.02) to purchase.
The justice department on Monday applied for a court injunction to ban anyone with criminal intent from "broadcasting, performing, printing, publishing, selling, offering for sale, distributing, disseminating, displaying or reproducing” the song. This includes the use of any internet-based platform, according to a government statement released Tuesday (June 6).
Glory to Hong Kong caused a showdown between the government and Alphabet Inc.’s Google last year after it appeared at the top of searches for Hong Kong’s national anthem, instead of China’s March of the Volunteers. Google’s apparent refusal to change the results came after the protest song was played by mistake at a number of international sporting events.
A court order would ban anyone from playing the song for reasons such as if the user had seditious intent, or if the song was likely to be mistaken for Hong Kong’s national anthem, according to the government statement.
"Knowingly authorising, permitting or allowing others to commit or participate in any of the acts” would also not be permitted, the statement said.
Hong Kong officials, backed by the sweeping power of a Beijing-imposed national security law, have taken an increasingly tough approach toward symbols associated with dissent.
On Sunday, police stopped people commemorating the 34th anniversary of China’s crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square. More than 20 people were detained, including individuals holding flowers or candles.
Ronny Tong, senior counsel and a member of the government’s advisory Executive Council, said deletion was the safest option for anyone who had downloaded the song, according to the South China Morning Post.